Best Run-Flat Tires You Shouldn't Be Missing

Best Run-Flat Tires You Shouldn't Be Missing

The tire industry is constantly developing. This has seen a fruitful evolution and constant upgrades to newer technologies and more innovative manufacturing processes. Run-flat tires are one of the proofs of this progression. This type of tire reduces to zero the need for a spare tire and allows you to get home safe and sound even with a flat tire. But this is not the only benefit of run-flat tires. 

Besides the fact that they do not change their integrity once they lose air due to a puncture, drivers continue to have maximum control over the operation and handling of the vehicle. For your record, a regular tire would severely impact the car's handling and destabilize the driver immediately. Moreover, its structure would be severely compromised if the driver continued to drive some mileage with it.

Let alone the spare tire in the trunk, which takes up a lot of space and costs a lot. But by opting for a run-flat option, all these bothersome difficulties are completely negated.

However, we must admit that run-flat tires are still not the number one choice of many drivers. Despite plenty of benefits, motorists prefer to opt for regular tires, even if they bring a lot of discomfort. If we analyze the car manufacturing industry, we notice that very few car makers dare to assemble their vehicles with OEM run-flat tires. Among them, we primarily note luxury and premium-class car makers such as Lexus, BMW, Infiniti, and Mercedes.

Why Is That Happening?

The answer is simple: the prices of run-flat tires. Of course, there are many other reasons behind it, but those are secondary. The price remains the primary cause. And this is understandable. Run-flat tires are a priori more expensive than any other ordinary tire. As such, carmakers prefer to reduce costs in order to remain competitive and as affordable as possible for buyers.

Another secondary reason is that run-flat tires are relatively harsher than regular ones. This comes from their stiff sidewall that ensures their integrity whenever they undergo a puncture. And when the time comes to pay a higher price for a tire, you certainly want it to offer you a high level of comfort. But run-flat tires are not the most comfortable in this sense. Thus, motorists end up choosing tires that provide smoother and more cushioning drive.

Spirited Drivers Look For Run Flat Tires

A certain segment of drivers is ready to sacrifice ride smoothness in favor of ultra-safe driving. This is exactly what the run-flat tire offers in the first place. These drivers understand how frustrating it is to replace a flat tire in the middle of nowhere. So they better mount less confi but safer tires to reach a technical service center flawlessly.

In addition to the lack of comfort, we must admit that the tire industry has made amazing progress lately. This significantly improved the riding quality with a run-flat tire. Comparatively, these are still bumpier than the regular ones. But they are already much smoother than run-flats from 10 years ago, for example.

With this in mind, allow me to introduce you to the most innovative run-flat tires in the modern industry. If you are one of those who appreciate the benefits of run-flat tires, you should not miss this article. As I usually do, I divided the offerings into different categories. As such, it will be easy for you to choose what suits you best.

Best Grand-Touring All-Season Run-Flat Tires

Bridgestone DriveGuard

Many drivers are used to the idea that run-flat tires are quite stiff due to their special construction. However, Bridgestone decided to demonstrate that this cliché is not true. In this sense, the tire maker brought the DriveGuard run-flat tire to the market.

Starting from the premise that "run-flat tires are too stiff", Bridgestone developed the NanoPro-Tech Sidewall technology. This has the role of smoothing the ride as much as possible. As a result, the DriveGuard is one of the most comfortable (if not the most) run-flat tires in the industry at the moment. The nice part is that Bridgestone took care of the noise control as well. Thus, this run-flat tire superbly inhibits outside noise, including when you drive on difficult roads.

Dry and Wet Performance

It is not difficult for Bridgestone to endow its tires with amazing performance. The DriveGuard tire is no exception. This tire works great on both wet and dry surfaces. You feel highly stable and confident, while the responsiveness is agile and dynamic.

Similarly, you won't have issues in terms of braking either. This tire adheres tightly to the road, providing one of the shortest braking distances in its class. Last but not least, Bridgestone is quite generous with its tread life warranty, offering between 50,000 and 60,000 miles for W-speed and H-/T-speed ratings, respectively.

What's the Dark Side?

I tested a 225/60RF17 99H model. So, I can confirm all the above-mentioned. However, I lacked enough snow traction. This run-flat tire will not delight you in light snow conditions. Comparatively, it performs worse in light winter conditions than its peers. The traction is more lazy and less dynamic while the handling leaves room for better.

Pros and Cons of Bridgestone DriveGuard

Great wet behavior with dynamic traction included;
Superb handling and responsiveness on dry surfaces;
Decent noise control on most roads;
The most comfortable run-flat tire in the category;
Promising tread life warranty;

For a grand touring all-season option, its snow traction leaves room for the better.

Michelin Primacy MXM4 ZP

If you want something more dynamic on light snow than the previous DriveGuard, then you should consider this Primacy MXM4 ZP. It solves the problem of traction on snow-covered roads and also adds better handling. This tire still remains somewhat deficient for ice roads as it lacks enough grip to ensure stability and dynamics. But in the end, it is an all-season guy, so ice performance is not among its priorities by definition.

Michelin is an expert in dry and wet performance. As such, like most other Michelin tires, the Primacy MXM4 ZP does not disappoint on wet and dry surfaces. This run-flat tire is as agile in braking as its competitor DriveGuard, ensuring an impressively short stopping distance. In addition, the handling and feedback are agile and precise.

The advantage of this tire is its year-round traction. But for this, drivers have to sacrifice comfort. The tire is quite stiff - an aspect that Michelin could not remove. However, it made the tire pretty quiet. Even in highway conditions, it inhibits the noises quite well, leaving only a numb tread growl somewhere far away. I tested a  PRIMACY MXM4 P225/45R17  model so I can confirm the great driving experience. 

A less gratifying aspect is the tread life warranty of this run-flat option. The Primacy MXM4 ZP has a warranty of 30,000 miles which sounds much more discouraging than the competitors. In real-life practice though, drivers are quite satisfied with its durability even after the warranty expires.

Pros and Cons of Primacy MXM4 ZP

Superb grip and traction confidence on dry surfaces;
Great and reliable performance in rainy conditions;
Sharp and precise steering and overall handling;
Effective enough in light snow;
Pretty quiet in highway conditions.

Trealife warranty could be better;
Not optimal for icy surfaces;
Comfort leaves more to be desired.

Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Run Flat

Here you have a run-flat hero that many car makers choose as an OEM option for their premium cars. Pirelli collaborated a lot with car makers to adapt this tire to the standards of luxury-class cars. Moreover, it seems that car makers have tuned their cars' suspensions on the softer side to make them compatible with this Pirelli model. Anyway, this run-flat tire provides phenomenal comfort for its category.

However, there is one aspect that Pirelli could not solve. It is about the comfort on irregular surfaces over which the tire passes rather aggressively. Another not-very pleasant aspect: Pirelli does not propose any tread life warranty for this model. On one hand, this is understandable because, after all, it is an OEM tire. However, the lack of warranty sounds a bit frustrating considering that we are talking about a tire maker like Pirelli.

Enough with the shortcomings, otherwise, you will get the wrong impression about this tire. In the Cinturato P7's defense, I have to admit that it shines in other performance aspects. Its steering is precise and agile. Also, it promises a superb grip on dry roads while the traction is at a higher level.

These characteristics are also specific for wet conditions in which the handling marvels with balance and confidence.

If we don't have a tread life warranty with this tire, at least we have a decent performance on light snow. My test drive on Cinturato P7 All-Season 195/55R16 resulted in a higher score in light winter conditions compared to other rivals. Traction and handling are also superior.

Pros and cons of Cinturato P7

Superb noise control even on rough surfaces;
Nice lateral grip and high handling responsiveness in dry conditions;
Great traction in rainy conditions;
Superb light-snow handling and traction for the category.

Not enough comfort and smoothness on bad and irregular surfaces;
Where's the tread life warranty?!

Continental ProContact GX SSR

Continental comes to solve the warranty problem of Pirelli run-flat tires. More than that, its warranty sounds promising since it covers 40,000 miles for W-speed, 45,000 miles for V-speed, 55,000- for T-speed, and 65,000 for T/S speed-rated tires.

That's not all. Continental had the foresight to integrate exceptional performances in this run-flat tire. I'm talking here about superb wet traction, exceptional cornering stability, as well as one of the shortest stopping distances in the group.

On the other hand, the dry performance does not give way in the slightest. The ProContact GX SSR which I tested remains firm in traction and handling. In addition, it impresses with its steering reaction to inputs and sharp feedback from the road.

You don't have to worry about light winter conditions. This tire knows how to behave confidently and solidly on light snow. If you have to sacrifice something, it has to be comfort. Continental still has work to do on it. Meanwhile, the ProContact GX SSR run-flat tire is still quite stiff and not even close to its DriveGuard rival. However, I'm rushing to tell you that the noise inhibition properties are at a high level. Maybe this alleviates a little the disappointment regarding the lack of comfort.

Pros and cons of ProContact GX SSR

Sharp handling and superb adherence to the dry pavement;
Great cornering control and superb braking in wet conditions;
Efficient and sufficient light-snow traction and handling;
Very quiet;
Promising warranty for a run-flat option;

Not enough smoothness and comfort to compete with its rivals, especially on rough surfaces.

Best Performance All-Season Run-Flat Tires

Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 ZP

Let's move on to another category of run-flat tires. I will refer to the category of ultra-high-performance tires, as the demand for them is also high.
I cannot ignore the Pilot Sport line of the Michelin brand. This shines in any of its versions, be it a regular or a run-flat option. The tests point out that the run-flat version is even more responsive than regular alternatives. This offers great perspectives for those looking for a bit of adrenaline during their rides.

The Pilot Sport All Season 4 ZP run-flat tire indeed stands out for its agility. Even if it belongs to the all-season class, it behaves almost like a summer tire. It remains impressively fast in braking while acceleration traction delivers a solid feeling of safety and control.

This model excels in wet performance. This even remains stable even when you push it a little harder. Water does not compromise traction at all, as its structure literally cuts the layer to roll confidently on the road.

In addition to its high-performance spirit, the Pilot Sport All Season 4 ZP still remains an all-season tire. During my test drive on Pilot Sport A/S 285/30ZR20 RUN FLAT 95 tires, these provide confident handling and traction in light snow conditions. It won't get you out of heavy snow blocks easily, but a few inches of snow shouldn't be a problem for it.

Despite its benefits, the Pilot Sport All Season 4 ZP run-flat has not really progressed substantially in terms of comfort and noise. Both are at an average level and other options in the class far surpass it. As such, driving on bad roads will feel a bit harsh and the noise will not be absent either.

Pros and cons of Pilot Sport All Season 4 ZP

Superb lateral stability due to increased grip on dry surfaces;
Impressive handling and powerful traction on rainy roads;
Surprisingly firm and short braking on wet and dry pavement;
Decent and safe performance on light snow;
30,000-mile treadwear warranty.

Not so smooth on broken surfaces like its rivals;
Poor noise suppression properties.

Best Performance Summer Run-Flat Tires

Michelin Pilot Sport 4S ZP

Michelin knows very well how to bring max-performance and superb tread life warranty together in a summer tire. This is valid not only for ordinary tires but also for run-flat ones. The Michelin Pilot Sport 4S ZP run-flat tire is proof of this fact. At the moment, this line is one of the most popular among summer tires. In addition to its high price, drivers love the combination of performances it delivers. Let's take a closer look.

The Pilot Sport 4S ZP run-flat tire excels in almost all its areas. This offers an exceptional grip on dry tarmac. In addition, it comes with superb acceleration agility and phenomenal braking response.

More than that, the wet performance profile cannot disappoint you. This run-flat offering has a very easily maneuverable nature. The tire listens and reacts carefully to any input, responding quickly and accurately. Great wet traction, short braking, and decent lateral grip are among the many benefits you can expect.

While many tire makers sacrifice comfort and noise control, Michelin did not dare to do it with its Pilot Sport 4S ZP run-flat model. This tire is one of the most comfortable and quiet tires out there. The icing on the cake is its 30,000-mile warranty which is impressive for a summer offer.

Pros and cons of Pilot Sport 4S ZP

Phenomenal balance, control, and traction on wet surfaces;
Superb braking on dry and wet surfaces;
Nice comfort and quietness compared to in-class alternatives;
Superb tread life warranty.


Lacks responsiveness to some degree compared to other in-class options.

Bridgestone Potenza S007A RFT

Now I'm addressing those who want a superior driving experience even at the price of a short tread life. The Bridgestone Potenza S007A RFT run-flat tire is the best offer for you. While the life cycle is relatively short, this tire performs like crazy in all its areas.

In particular, the tire amazes me with its extremely precise, linear, and extremely agile steering. In addition, it delivers a granular reaction that is extremely predictable. The grip of the tire is superb and spreads both in linear driving and in cornering. Not to mention, the Bridgestone Potenza S007A RFT is very calibrated and firm while braking.

Driving mostly on wet roads? No probs. The tire promises superb traction even in such conditions. You will feel it stable and balanced without yielding on the roads where water puddles would be difficult for other tires.

Bridgestone also took care of the comfort and noise profile. These aspects are worth appreciating as the tire rolls pretty smoothly and suppresses bumps quite decently on most surfaces.

Pros and cons of Bridgestone Potenza S007A RFT

A sharpness and reaction in steering rarely found in the class;
Phenomenal calibration and superb grip on dry roads;
High confidence on wet roads with decent traction and safe braking included;
Comfort and noise control are rarely found in the line of run-flat performance tires.

You'll have to sacrifice tread life. This tire gets consumed very quickly compared to other in-class offerings.

Best Performance Summer Run-Flat Tires for Trucks and SUVs

Pirelli Scorpion Green Run Flat

Although I have some objections to this run-flat tire, I will first list the sectors in which it excels.

The Pirelli Scorpion Verde Run Flat brings a nice and decent performance profile to the table. Any performance SUV or light truck owner will feel its remarkable grip in wet and dry conditions. In addition, this tire promises a handling balance and traction not inferior to other run-flat models. This is confirmed by hundreds of reviews of drivers who have already managed to give it a try.

Another remarkable aspect of it consists in its high and precise responsiveness to drivers' maneuvers. The tire is definitely for those who are looking for a loyal partner who can quickly and smoothly execute any input.

On the flip side, though, the comfort aspect remains unresolved, just like in its counterpart above, the Cinturato P7. In addition, some reviews talk about drivers' dissatisfaction with the life cycle of this model. While this is not the only tire with a short life cycle in the run-flat category, its high price seems to be unjustified for this shortcoming. Unfortunately, I did not test this tire in the long run. So, couldn't say much about this aspect. As for the other areas, the performance completely satisfied me.

Pros and cons of Pirelli Scorpion Verde Run Flat

Impressive road adherence and traction on wet pavement;
Strong and safe braking as well as calibrated handling on dry pavement;
Lovely cornering forces with superb grip and solid balance included.

Comfort is still an issue;
Possibly, short life cycle, as I can't confirm it myself.

Best Winter Run-Flat Tires

Bridgestone Blizzak LM001 RFT

Did you think winter tires didn't include run-flat options? You bet. Moreover, the Bridgestone offer will amaze you with many other benefits besides its resistance to punctures.

The Blizzak LM001 RFT shows the best of Brigdetone in terms of run-flat tires. If you are familiar with the prestigious Blizzak WS90 winter model, expect the same performance profile in the Blizzak LM001 RFT model. They have a lot in common while the latter also includes the benefits of a run-flat tire.

In short, the winter traction of this tire is superb. Whether the snow is thin or heavy, it is ultra-prepared for any winter scenario. Both the stability and responsiveness on dry, as well as the firmness and power on wet will make you happy. It reacts quickly and safely, keeping safety at an optimal level. The nice part is that the comfort shines through a high rating, which is very gratifying for a run-flat tire.

Let me guess. You wonder what Bridgestone has sacrificed in it for its amazing performance profile. Well, it definitely isn't the ice and snow traction. The tire stays true to its winter essence and behaves impressively in both linear and cornering operations. Acceleration and braking are worthy of the title "premium" with which Bridgestone is very close. These capacities are specific to both heavy snow and thick ice conditions. So, no need to worry about winter safety, as with these tires you won't even need studs.

Here we come to what Bridgestone had to sacrifice. It is about the tread life warranty which... is missing. While many tire makers do not offer warranties for their winter tires, it would have been nice to have one from Bridgestone.

Pros and cons of Blizzak LM001 RFT

Winter conditions are not a big challenge for this tire;
Ice surfaces are not at all difficult for the Blizzak LM001 RFT;
Impressive traction when on dry and wet roads;
Pretty decent comfort and noise control levels.

No treadwear warranty. Customers report an average life cycle.

Best Winter Run-Flat Tires for Trucks and SUVs

Pirelli Scorpion Ice & Snow Run Flat

It will not be news to you that this run-flat Pirelli option will not provide the highest comfort. We are already used to it. In addition, this tire will not impress you with its life cycle, as it's relatively short according to the audience. But this is not a dealbreaker because most winter performance tires have the same fate.

However, I have included this offering in our list because I have to praise its grip. This has an impressive sticking to the road regardless of whether the surface is snowy or not. Moreover, it responds very sharply to steering inputs. Wet and dry handling is not far behind, being among the best in class.

SUV and truck owners can rest assured that this run-flat offering will cope superbly with packed and unpacked snow surfaces. It bites dynamically from the snow providing superior acceleration and braking properties. The same happens on icy surfaces as Scorpion Ice & Snow Run Flat is quite prepared to offer traction and stability on them.

Pros and cons of Scorpion Ice & Snow Run Flat

Packed and unpacked snow is not a threat to this run-flat tire;
Confident traction on icy roads;
Decent traction on slushy and rainy roads;
Superb balance and agile reaction for a winter tire.

Comfort is again an issue;
The relatively short life cycle for the price.

Common Customer Concerns About Run-Flat Tires

How Safe Are Run-Flat Tires Compared To Regular Ones?

Let's divide the driving experience into 2 segments to understand. better usability of run-flat tires. If we talk about usual driving conditions, run-flat options behave in the same way as a regular tire. This can be the same performance and provides more or less identical traction. In terms of comfort, you may feel a lower level of smoothness. This is explained by the stiffer sidewall of the run-flat tire, which ensures its integrity in puncture conditions. However, tire makers advance in this aspect and they become more and more comfortable.

If, on the other hand, we are talking about situations in which a tire undergoes a cut or puncture, the run-flat one is definitely much safer. thanks to the stiffer sidewall, it maintains its shape. The loss of air from it does not compromise the driving experience. The driver sees his way while the tire confidently maintains the weight of the vehicle's body.

Obviously, the driver must drive more slowly and not exceed the 50-mile limit. However, this is usually enough to get home or to the safe and sound technical center. Meanwhile, the driver only feels poorer cornering and braking abilities. Still, the overall driving is quite safe.

An ordinary tire would deflate and deform immediately after a severe puncture. This is highly likely to destabilize driving. The tire is severely damaged and the driver can no longer drive with it. This means that he must apply a plug/patch to it, or replace it in the middle of nowhere. We have to admit that this causes major discomfort and frustration.

How Do You Know A Run-Flat Tire Is Actually Flat?

The run-flat tire keeps its shape and usability when without air. So, it's indeed challenging to know when this is out of the air. In this sense, all cars with run-flat OEM tires have special sensors that measure the pressure even in a run-flat tire. Thus, the TPMS alerts the driver when it undergoes changes in the pressure level.

If you switch from regular to run-flat tires, you must make sure that you have a TPMS integrated into the vehicle and that it reads pressure from run-flat tires effectively. Without it, it is challenging to monitor this aspect. A solution would be frequent visits to a technician for a detailed inspection. I suppose this would be inconvenient for many drivers. Otherwise, though, you risk your safety as driving with a flat run-flat tire for too long is not a good idea.

Is A Run-Flat Tire Repairable?

Technically, the run-flat tire can undergo a repair process. However, this is not recommended for safety purposes. Some tire makers come with specific recommendations in this regard. The wisest thing is to get familiar with them.
The repair depends on how much the sidewall of the run-flat tire has been damaged. So, the involvement of an expert technician is, most of the time, unavoidable. It is recommended to talk to your dealer about the repair possibilities of any run-flat tire. Here is an approximate example of recommendations and guarantees from tire makers:

Bridgestone allows repair if the air level does not drop below 15 psi;
Goodyear recommends repair only for tires in the H-speed rated category or above;
Michelin recommends no more than ONE repair per tire;
Kumho and Hankook place no restrictions on the repair of their run-flat tires;
Pirelli, Yokohama, and Continental are against repairing run-flat tires. Moreover, you risk losing the warranty if you do.

Bottom Line

If you are a fan of run-flat tires for every reason, I hope I have shed some light on the subject. Carefully analyze the benefits and shortcomings of each model. This will help you choose tires more carefully and match them better to your needs. Drive safe!

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